What is online learning?
I simply define it as a method of gaining knowledge using internet connection to attend an online class. For the more serious type, here are more definitions of online learning from different sources.
University of Edinburgh: online learning is a way of studying for an internationally recognized qualification without needing to attend classes on campus. North Carolina: eLearning is learning utilizing electronic technologies to access educational curriculum outside of a traditional classroom.
To give you an idea, WCET indicates that 58 percent of bachelor’s-degree students at Argosy University complete the program within six years. That proportion is only 37 percent at Kaplan University. And it’s 30 percent at American Public University. Quite alarming. This is not to scare you. It’s to make sure you’re aware of what kind of preparations you need, in order to follow through and graduate.
What’s in a name?
What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” Juliet in Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare.
Juliet didn’t think name mattered. Online learning, also, by any other name would deliver education through internet. If you hear any of the following terms, though they are not all exactly the same by definition, they all refer to learning with online methods. Online education, eLearning, distance education, edtech, MOOC. For degrees awarding programs the names are but no limited to: online degrees, online MBA, online college, online university, online course, online program. If you know any other name, I’d love to hear it.
Passion for people. Passion for education.
Why am I so passionate about people and education? This video will explain why. In addition, it’s also because I have seen with my own eyes how education changed people’s lives for the better. Raised people’s standard of living, taking them to a next level. My own life, to start with. My childhood was spent in Indonesia, where education was valuable, even scarce, back when I grew up. Even now still. Why does Bill Gates have many projects in Africa? His first visit there made his eyes wide opened. Of many new things he saw, he saw a world where education was a luxury for many. He grew up not knowing this fact of inequalities in education. While I didn’t grow up in Africa, I grew up being fully aware of the better side of the world to have an education. Western world. Foreign graduates have always been highly regarded, more than locals. To have more outreach to change more people’s lives, I simply think all universities and any learning institution should have online programs in it, just as for companies.
Call me an online learning evangelist, I will take it as a compliment
What makes a good online program?
What makes a good online program depends on who’s asking, really. When you have no issue with budget, you might want to look at programs with better qualities, or offer better supports. If you’re the smartest person ever, you’d worry less about admission requirements. I asked online students, what they would like to see in 2017. Most of them suggested a more organized and transparent scheduling. Something to think about. Do realize there are fake degrees out there. Look for accredited intuitions. Ranking is also somewhat useful, although it’s not used as much anymore as before.
What makes a good online student?
Again, this depends on who’s asking. What do you think makes you a good online student? Try to learn why online students drop out, what mistakes they make. These mistakes can be avoided if you do your homework. Find out what qualities do highly successful online students have and what tools you need to succeed.
Unfortunately, there are still people who think that students’ succeed depends mostly on teaching methods, technology and platform. Those who are aware these are not the only success factors, don’t seem to want to walk the extra mile to help students with their personal struggles. Online students, just like anyone else, have daily engagement with different roles and directly affect the students, whether people like it or not, whether they accept it or not. Failures are mostly due to lack of discipline and other engagements. This is where online students need help the most. Not simply to create a life balance, but a discipline anchored in a purpose, to keep them stay on course.
“Discipline comes from a clear vision, not set of rules.
A misconception academics often have is that as long as the learning system is in place and students are motivated, they will graduate and succeed. This is far from truth. Over the past years I have helped students with their online education, I have seen the biggest challenge they had was to stay committed despite juggling the different roles. Certainly one needs to be motivated to undertake any activities. That includes and especially online learning. But trust me, being motivated alone won’t get you where you want to be.
How about the benefits? As an online learning evangelist, being passionate about it as I am, I see more benefits to online learning then its challenges. Which benefit would you need to be able to decide?
Challenges of online learning
So what are the challenges of online learning? Studying in isolation is one of the challenges. Just as the lack of face to face interaction, which some still find important in learning. I wouldn’t argue its importance, however, any online classroom now will allow interaction to take place. It is getting more real time and with videos even real face time. You can find tips to succeed in this post.
Whereas for universities, the challenges would be to keep the system running 24/7 and of course, to help students graduate and succeed.
This article in US NEWS confirms that students need to take care of personal life, by being more disciplined, to succeed. While their focus should be on the program, making analysis and answering hypothesis, online students need help with key factors that directly affect their learning experience. So, to help you prepare better, as a future or existing online student, a free guide to online learning is available to help you decide or get settled more in your program.
Providers and platforms
Top online programs are mostly offered from the US or UK, but Universities in Asia, Africa and Australia now also have online programs as part of their curriculums. They don’t always offer degree awarding programs. Just recently I participated in Stanford’s LEAD Preview offered by its Graduate Business School, where it showed more inside information. I will write about it on my next post.
How about platforms? The formal language for it is LMS, Learning Management System. I prefer to simply call it an online classroom. There are millions out there. I’m exaggerating, of course. There are more options out there than you can or need to choose from. The choices depend on one’s budget, need, preference and methods of teaching or curriculum. If you want to know more about this, let me know so I can write a dedicated blog post just to cover this. This will especially useful for universities who are still thinking about choosing which LMS would be best.
What is online learning?
This post should be enough to give you an introduction to online learning. In the future, I also plan to teach how to serve and influence others with that you know. It’s not a quick way to riches, as I never want to make anyone incentivized by money. Email me what your biggest challenge is in spreading your influence. Including if you THINK you don’t have any. Let’s firstly get rid of that road-block!
My interest is to also learn with and from you. That’s how we can build an ecosystem.
You have read: What is online learning?
Share this post to your friends or colleagues on social media, using the share button. Get them also excited about learning online!
Questions or feedback? Email them to firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re happy to answer them. Or simply fill out the form below.